PFR Archives VIC


Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar - Wok Tossed King Prawns & Mussels

Melbourne: Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar – 12 Nov 2016

For my second night in Melbourne, one of my ex-colleagues recommended a visit to Lucy Liu’s which is an Asian fusion type restaurant. Located down Oliver Lane, the place is packed but I manage to score a table and are seated at one of the high benches overlooking the restaurant. There are hooks underneath the bench, perfect for hanging my bags after a day of shopping. The interior is very chic, covered in criss cross wood formations, yet there is plenty of buzz and is another venue with lots of atmosphere. Turn over the placemat to reveal the menu, there’s plenty to choose from and I seek the guidance of the waitstaff.

I start with a fresh betel leaf. Yummy and hands on way to roll up the betel leaf and consume the lovely tuna and roe. It’s light and refreshing and the perfect start to the meal. I’m a real fan of bao so the crispy pork bun was an easy choice. The soft bun encases crispy pork and contains a lovely sauce to amplify the flavour. The crunch of the pork is distinctive, although a little chewy at times, contrasting against the soft bao which melts in your mouth. Enhanced with some lovely Asian ingredients and the kewpie mayo, each bite is delicious.

For something more substantial, I opted for the wok tossed king prawns and mussels. I didn’t expect to get such a large hearty bowl though. t love the delicious flavoursome XO influenced broth, the succulent mussels, juicy prawns, crispy prawn heads, and the minced beef. The Chinese doughnuts are a distinctive food item throughout many parts of Asia and are perfect for sopping up broth as is the case here. Once soaked, the doughnut takes on the flavour of the broth which is simply yum. So full, I continue walking around Melbourne to walk off my full belly.


Gazi Restaurant - Loukoumades

Melbourne: Gazi Restaurant – 11 Nov 2016

One of my ex-work colleagues told me about this place so upon landing, my first point of call is a visit to George Calombaris’s Gazi Restaurant. Seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen, it was interesting watching the kitchen in operation. There are hooks underneath the bench to hang your jacket or bags which is perfect as it’s a bit cold outside but the heat of the kitchen warms everyone up. The atmosphere is buzzing, plenty of people crammed in but with sufficient space to enjoy conversation and waitstaff rush around to cater for the hungry hords. Despite that, there is no compromise on the excellent service provided throughout the night. There’s plenty of choice from the menu which makes it hard to decide. I asked the waitstaff for some recommendations and chose a number of dishes, though, with the rotisserie in front of me, I rather fancied some dish that incorporated some of those delicious meats. I heard there is the option for takeaway but I’m here in Melbourne for the weekend.

I started with the miso eggplant dip which presents super smooth eggplant dip evoking a strong but well controlled eggplant flavour that is just delightful. Dipping the warm soft puffy Pita into the dip is a delicious and an enjoyable experience.

Next I went with the saganaki cheese – I love cheese so was interested to see what this dish would serve up. Melted cheese on a sizzling hot plate with a golden brown crust and a cumquat citrus sauce. The citrus seems unusual at first, a sweet sensation but it balances against the richness of the cheese, particularly the slight touch of acidity. Yum!!!

I had to grab a mini souvlaki, or souvalkia and opted for the duck version. There’s lots of succulent juicy duck with an Asian inspired fusion. The duck is delicious, though a tad oversalted. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the dish, the soft Pita and the ingredients it held. I think the Hoison is overshadowed by the mayo to an extent.

Finally, I had to squeeze in dessert and chose loukoumades, Greek doughnuts. Oh wow! What a finish to the meal. Crunchy on the outside, soft and spongy on the inside. Drizzled with honey for sweetness with a touch of nutella to add a chocolate hint, these are to be savoured. I also like the strong Greek coffee flavoured ice cream. Wouldn’t mind more of that. Really full, glad to have some variety and really enjoyed the flavours and experience of this venue. So typically Melbourne, nothing that Perth offers comes close.


Chin Chin - Pad Thai

VIC, Melbourne – Chin Chin #2

Once again I was fortunate to gain a seat at Chin Chin after my initial dinner choice was full up. I was really looking forward to trying some of the other dishes after yesterday’s excellent experience. Unfortunately tonight’s dining wasn’t up to the same standard as yesterday from a food point of view. The suckling pig pancakes had a lovely freshness and the succulent pork was tasty but it didn’t create the same kind of enjoyment as Peking duck pancakes. Maybe some more sauce would have made a big difference. The pad thai wasn’t that great as it lacked the sweet element which is crucial to the dish. There’s a generous serving and I really loved the juicy moist prawns, the crunch of the chopped peanuts, moisture from the cucumber, the tenderness of the noodles, and the freshness from the coriander. As a whole, it didn’t live up to the expectations of a pad thai. I’m really shocked at the change in consistency. Maybe I picked the two dud dishes on the menu because yesterday’s experience left me very impressed.


Mamasita - Ceviche De Yukaton

VIC, Melbourne – Mamasita

Mamasita is well recognised as an excellent moderately price eat on Urbanspoon and after a slightly rushed lunch I can see why. I would have like to tried some dessert but from the delicious fresh ceviche, the extremely flavour packed tacos, and the fresh cactus salad, the simplicity of Mexican cuisine shines through. The flavours of each dish are carefully controlled and the freshness is allowed to shine in the ceviche and salad, while the spice mix in the taco filling is flavour packed and carries a slight bite. The salsa helps cool things down. Another place in Melbourne with a casual vibe, friendly service, delicious flavour packed food.


La Parisienne Pates - Rabbit Pie & Chocolate Eclair

VIC, Melbourne – La Parisienne Pâtés

A place like this deli / café epitomises Melbourne. A place selling lovely produce, delicious food, excellent friendly service. This isn’t a full blown café with a menu. It’s more a deli selling cured meats and all things French, like French pastries, tarts, and quiches. Yet for the pastry items, you can dine in and have them warmed up. You just don’t get the warmed up item like the rabbit pie I ordered, but the food is served on a plate, with cutlery and a serviette, and also with beetroot relish which went perfectly with the delicious rabbit pie. Likewise, same treatment with the chocolate éclair, it also came with a dollop of Chantilly cream which is definitely needed. A glass and bottle of water are provided along with excellent friendly service. You get a lot more than just the items you’re ordering. The items I ordered were perfectly paired with the extras I wasn’t expecting which made the food far more enjoyable.


Chin Chin - Coconut Sago & Sweet Corn Ice Cream

VIC, Melbourne – Chin Chin

I was fortunate to grab a seat at the hugely popular and very busy Chin Chin. There’s large queues and long wait times to try the various dishes on the extensive menu. The place is buzzing and there’s lots of very busy staff where ever you look. I loved my small entrée of Miang which just had delicious flavours in the two mouthfuls. Excellent balance of Asian flavours – sweet, sour, acidity. The beef rending was extremely tender, generous, and absolutely flavour packed. The spice mix just oozed flavour, carried intensity and a slight chilli kick, but was best enjoyed with the steamed rice. The dessert was just fantastic. Soft, creamy, fresh, crunch. A great balance of flavours. After eating these meals you know the chefs have clearly got some skill in delivering perfectly executed flavours. I’m impressed.


Belles - Southern Fried Chicken

VIC, Melbourne – Belle’s Night Lunch Diner

Along Gertrude Street are a number of restaurants and we chose the American themed Belle’s Night Lunch Diner. I ordered the southern fried chicken which came with a decent serving, had a lovely light crisp batter but lacked the Caijin spice mix I was expecting. The slaw was really delicious though and the meal was filling. Nice service in a more modern styled diner in a relaxed atmosphere.


Cumulus Inc - Smoked Salmon, Sorrell, Dill & Grapefruit Juice

VIC, Melbourne – Cumulus

Unfortunately a changed menu left me with little choice to the dish I really wanted. That said, there’s lots of choice on the menu, it’s just that since I don’t like eggs, there wasn’t an item on the menu that I really wanted. I chose the smoked salmon on toast and received a decent amount of smoked salmon which isn’t cheap. With a lovely horseradish, some greens and dill on top of a lovely thick piece of toast, it was a good meal. I liked the fresh grapefruit juice but thought the $27 bill was rather steep (I realise there’s probably a surcharge for the ANZAC Day holiday). Obviously a highly popular place.


Hofbrauhaus - Weisswurst

VIC, Melbourne – Hofbrauhaus

This German pub certainly is buzzing with lots of people enjoying themselves on a late night in Melbourne. There’s a great range of German dishes on the menu and I chose the Speck Kasepatzle which is like a carbonara, but a German version. Small flat soft tender pieces of pasta immersed in a rich creamy cheese sauce with herbs and a mild and not salty speck. Delicious but very rich. I ate this along with two German sausages, weisswurst, which were very tender and had a light herbed flavour. This was also enjoyed with a sweet mustard and a lovely freshly baked pretzel which wasn’t salty. A delicious generous meal giving me a taste of Germany.